Choosing an Order Fulfillment Service

Choosing an order fulfillment service is a very complex issue as it involves many parameters like location, volume, cost, and credibility. Judge your business impartially and then only you will know which one is suited for you.
BusinessZeal Staff
Choosing an order fulfillment service company for your business is quite a complex decision-making process. Besides the rates and quality of dispatching, there are many more specific needs and parameters to be considered. The volume of the order, the types of goods, the location of the warehouses, their shipping facility, their turnaround time, and the dependence of fulfillment activities on other parameters of business are the major factors affecting fulfillment services you are going to choose. Given below are some factors you need to keep in mind.

Volume
There is a large diversity among present fulfillment services. They range from petty small businesses having a few employees to large corporate companies. You should select a service which can cater to your daily order fulfillment needs. Here, the most important point to be taken into consideration is whether your fulfillment is steady or not. If your fulfillment is steady then by knowing its volume you can judge the best service for yourself. But if the volume is not consistent, it is better to look for a service which can cater to the extra workload and still ship the consignment within a stipulated time.

Location
It is very essential to select a fulfillment warehouse which is close to your clients rather than your place of business. In this, you have to consider the shipping costs. If you choose a warehouse near your clients, the shipping costs will be lower.

Turnaround Time
Each order fulfillment service has its own rules and regulations regarding order processing. You have to take their deadline time of order entry before choosing the right one. You have to take your client's need into consideration in terms of shipping time.

Communication
Communication forms the most important and integral part of any business. To get the exact status of shipping you need a service with excellent communication. There can be times when you will be needed to change the address of shipment, modify the shipment, or even cancel it. A prompt communication facility will be of great assistance for this purpose.

Rates
These services have their own and diverse kind of payment schedule. Some fulfillment warehouses can charge some basic fee to store your goods at the warehouse. Some services use sliding scales of rates and require a contract. Some will charge you per order or per item. You have to be pretty sure that you have clearly understood the rates and terms and conditions of the contract of the fulfillment service.

Order Entry Method
While choosing such a service, a careful study of the order entry methods can be of immense help. There are numerous order entry methods practiced in this sector. Each method has a specific effect on your business. The most commonly observed methods are:
  • Forwarding the individual order to the fulfillment warehouse manually.
  • Entering your order online.
  • Auto e-mailing an excel spreadsheet which will carry all the shipment orders in a single day.
While considering an appropriate data entry method you have to take note of the volume of your shipment. If you have a high volume of orders, then it will not be feasible to enter all your orders manually. Although you may pay a higher price in auto e-mail format, it is worth spending these extra charges to save time and have an edge over your competitors.

Percentage of Error
Mistakes are bound to happen. There will be incidents when your clients will receive wrong items or there may be a case when shipment is done to a billing address instead of shipping address. While searching for a potential order fulfillment service, find out about the error rate and the company's procedure to offer a solution for it.

History and Credibility
You should check the profile of these companies to get an overall idea of their credibility. Certain companies are particularly appreciated by their renowned clients for their services. You can check out the total number of years the fulfillment service has been in business as the older the company greater is the credibility, although new companies should not be assumed to be uncompetitive or unreliable.

Order fulfillment forms an integral part of a sales procedure. A good research on the background of the company, its reputation in the market, the types of other e-commerce activities it is offering (online order placement, online payment processing, customer care, etc.), and the types of fulfillment services it offers will determine the company you choose.